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  • Author or Editor: Atsushi Imai x
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Ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) have been used to chill water to facilitate cooling of ‘Natsuakari’ strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) grown within containers during the summer. Two types of soil containers and cooling systems have been considered. In one system, cold-water tubes were placed under as well as over the top of the soil, whereas the other cooling system used cold water passing through tubes placed under the soil and within the irrigation channel to facilitate bottom irrigation. The cooling efficiency of each system was evaluated by observing temperature relationships between greenhouse air and soil. The relationship was represented by means of an elliptic curve, the geometric center and tilt angle of which indicated representative daily soil temperatures and degree of temperature stability, respectively. Both values were observed to be lower for the bottom irrigation system during the two plant growth periods considered in this study, thereby indicating that colder and relatively constant soil temperatures can be maintained via greater heat convection. This greater cooling method was facilitated by rapid transfer of cold water through the bottom irrigation channel into the root zone, resulting from reduction in soil moisture content induced by plant transpiration in addition to heat conduction from the soil to the cooling tube. Measured soil temperatures for the buried-tube system were observed to be coldest when the tube was chilled considerably (9.4 °C). Although the setup of the considered bottom watering system was rather sensitive in that the system required maintenance of a constant water level throughout the container, both systems effectively produced cooler soil temperatures compared with the case in which no GSHP was used.

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To aid the breeding of citrus (Citrus sp.) for high carotenoid content, we assayed the fruit flesh of 48 cultivars and selections within a parental population consisting of both old and new cultivars and selections at two locations in Japan. The mean total carotenoid (CAR) content across all 48 cultivars and selections over the two locations was 26.59 μg·g−1 fresh weight (FW). The most prominent carotenoid was β-cryptoxanthin [BCR (12.09 μg·g−1 FW)] followed by violaxanthin [VIO (8.04 μg·g−1 FW)], ζ-carotene (2.27 μg·g−1 FW), phytoene (1.86 μg·g−1 FW), and β-carotene (0.96 μg·g−1 FW). Broad-sense heritabilities of CAR, BCR, and VIO were 0.80 or greater based on a sample of five fruit on one tree per location in one time sampling for 1 year in a location, which were revealed to be large enough for gauging the genetic variation. The mean CAR and BCR contents in a cultivar and selection group in advanced generations were nearly the same as in the initial population, suggesting no or little selection pressure on carotenoid content in the citrus breeding so far. High carotenoid contents in cultivars and selections released or selected recently, which have high fruit qualities, suggest their high potential for combining high fruit quality and high carotenoid content in breeding. We showed that the critical phenotypic value used in selecting hybrid seedlings can be determined from the estimate of environmental variance.

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